Reviews & features: Comedy

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Croft & Pearce: Give and Take

11 Aug 20143 stars

Enjoyable hour of comedy in need of extra funny injection

One thing's for sure in this show, you can't fault Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce's skills as actors. They bring to life all of their diverse characters with absolute precision and conviction. Effortlessly changing from middle aged, middle class ladies…

Abandoman: Hot Desk

11 Aug 20144 stars

Thoroughly entertaining and impressive hip hop improv show at Edinburgh Fringe

It seems that P Diddy has so little to do with his time that he has captured hip hop improvisers Rob Broderick and his band and set them the task of writing him a new album brimming with hits. Whether Diddy knows about this plan is beside the point.

What Does The Title Matter Anyway?

10 Aug 20143 stars

A sentimental journey into improv from team behind 90s TV show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Last year, a new series of the 1990s comedy fixture Whose Line is it Anyway? was commissioned. This year, either the cast have reunited to recreate the magic or several aging comedians are throwing themselves about (fragile hips be-damned) to emulate a…

Lucy Beaumont: We Can Twerk It Out

10 Aug 20143 stars

Not enough material or structure on show despite being genuinely engaging and likeable

Some people you really want to like and Lucy Beaumont is most definitely one of them, she walks on stage and immediately catches you with her bright eyed look and distinctly accented tones. Lucy you see is from Hull a fact that is integral for the…

Austentatious: An Improvised Novel

10 Aug 20144 stars

A cannily entertaining period improv show in the style of Jane Austen

Plenty of improv, particularly long-form like this, easily becomes meandering and flabby if you take it on a journey where literally anything can happen. But they're a canny lot Austentatious: not only does performing improv in the style of Jane Austen…

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Bobby Mair: Off Meds

11 Aug 20142 stars

Canadian funnyman has nice gags but ramshackle structure brings act down

'My act is like a finger in the ass,' asserts Bobby Mair towards the end of his show. But despite opening with a dubious joke about Gaza, he's not as controversial as he thinks. The Canadian slacker mixes observations with made up stories to varying…

Jonny Pelham and George Zach: Subtitles Not Provided

11 Aug 20142 stars

Split hour offers two different outsiders' perspectives, but doesn’t quite hit the mark

It’s a set of two halves, and although they operate with very different styles, Jonny Pelham and George Zach both work their perspective as outsiders, for differing reasons, in each of their half-hour timeslots. Pelham opts for a line in…

Andrew Doyle: Zero Tolerance

11 Aug 20143 stars

Highly amusing Edinburgh Fringe show about raw heartbreak eventually becomes easy to pre-empt

Hell hath no fury like Andrew Doyle dumped. Applying his typical cruel wit to the thoughts a recent break-up has left him with, he doesn’t just thoroughly shred his ex with that sharp tongue, it’s people who talk on trains, homophobes, children, readers…

The Philharmonic of Wit

11 Aug 20142 stars

Polish symphonic comedy troupe leave a lot to be desired in uneven and stilted show

There is more whimsy than wit in this uneven show from Poland's leading/only symphonic comedy troupe. While I can't deny the exceptional talent of the nineteen-piece orchestra, their hokey comedy shtick leaves a lot to be desired. It's a pity, as…

Adian Goately: Films With My Dad

11 Aug 20142 stars

Affable and likeable raconteur of autobioigraphical tales and observational material

Aidan Goatley lives in Brighton, managed a pet shop, worked at a gay club and studied scriptwriting. The premise for this show is how, with all that in mind, he navigates a relationship with his traditionally masculine, navy engineer father. Hint: the…

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Tom Toal in Prequel

11 Aug 20143 stars

Touching addition to the Daniel Kitson-esque heart-on-sleeve comedy subgenre at the Edinburgh Fringe

Ever since Daniel Kitson first shambled into view over a decade ago, the comedy circuit has become increasingly full of sensitive young men combining conventional stand-up with soul-searching ruminations on the nature of existence. But whereas Kitson…

Goodbye Gunther

10 Aug 20144 stars

A hilarious and intelligent take on impending mortality at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Like the best clowns, Frank Wurzinger does not wear a red nose or big shoes. Instead, he evokes the pathos of human life through a self-conscious vulnerability, a mastery of characterisation and the occasional pratfall. Following the last hours of the…

Bridget Christie: An Ungrateful Woman

10 Aug 20144 stars

Gravitas with giggles by the barrel load at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Most comedians think they’ve got something important to say. But sitting in front of Bridget Christie, you get the sense that something fairly seismic is happening. In her own small way, she is handing women a set of empowering tools, opening men’s eyes…

A Split Decision

10 Aug 20143 stars

Referendum debate as divorce comedy best taken as the bit of fun it’s meant to be

With so many commentators discussing the forthcoming independence referendum as a marriage in crisis, comedian Keir McAllister’s decision to stage the debate in a Relate consulting room makes a lot of sense. Inspired by Stanley Odd’s song, Marriage…

Laurence Clark: Moments of Instant Regret

10 Aug 20143 stars

Much to enjoy in humourous show with clever twist

We all have regrets in life. But Laurence Clark has so much of his own share that he can get a full hour out of his Moments of Instant Regret. Among the swathe of cringeworthy incidents that presumably have him waking up in the night in a cold sweat are…

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Robin and Partridge: Robin Dies at the End of the Show

10 Aug 20143 stars

Rabid enthusiasm teeters in edge of awfulness on too many occasions undermining excitable energy

As obviously unlikely as it would be in the real world, subtlety is the middle name of neither Robin Clyfan nor Charlie Partridge. Theirs was a double-act show with a vague story running through it which teetered on the edge of awfulness on far too many…

Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane

10 Aug 20143 stars

Comedian delivers moments of ingenuity in show with more potential than impact

Alongside Craig David, Dane Baptiste is one of the few successful things to have its roots in Grenada. But the comedian will hear nothing negative about the man who will be forever entrenched in the UK psyche as the chief target of ridicule in Bo…

Amy G: Entershamement

10 Aug 20144 stars

Brooklyn cabaret star provides one of the most feel-good experiences around at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Anyone suffering from festival fatigue can look no further than Amy G. Entershamement is one of the most feel good experiences you could have. The cabaret star from Brooklyn blends slapstick humour, a fantastic voice and some very special talents to…

Glenn Wool: Wool's Gold

10 Aug 20144 stars

Twenty years of grief and jokes in a candid show that keeps just the right side of offensive

Jokes have not made Glenn Wool happy. They haven’t made him famous or rich. They have decimated his relationships and stunted his chances of being a father. This is a shame because jokes are one thing he is very good at. Still, we learn about his woes…

Hennessy and Friends: Murmurs

10 Aug 20142 stars

Childish, rough, and repetitive material from critically lauded group

In all aspects but the energy of its eponymous frontwoman, this is an extremely weak showing from the critically lauded Hennessy (Miranda) and Friends (David Seymour and Steven Shapland). Unrecognisable from their poster quotes and past reviews (they…

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Sam Avery: Rock and Dole

10 Aug 20143 stars

Absorbing autobiographical and hilarious insight into hidden world of rock'n'roll

Dispatches from the frontline of rock'n'roll. At the age of 15 Sam Avery and three of his pals formed a band. After mulling over some frankly ridiculous ideas they finally called themselves dHb (far better than one early suggestion: 'Techno Pussy…

Minor Delays

10 Aug 20143 stars

Well-constructed Fringe show from young act specializing in stripped-back sketch comedy

A recent past of endless student revues is evident with the on-stage ease and well-honed timing of former Cambridge Footlighters Harry Michell (last seen in 2013’s breakneck costume-change belter Dressing Down) and Abi Tedder plus their Leeds Tealights…

Marlon Davis: Once Upon A Grime

10 Aug 20142 stars

Energetic personality barely covers cracks in foundations of a wobbly and familiar set

Opening with the claim that he doesn’t like the title of his show nor does it have any bearing on the content, Marlon Davis’ megawatt smile, infection enthusiasm and dynamic delivery seem auspicious. Then comes the tired old excuse that his manager made…

Justin Hamilton: Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

10 Aug 20142 stars

Highly amicable company fails to make impact with ill-aimed lines

Words can be used as weapons, skewering society and its ills with strategically chosen phrases for a successfully potent, perhaps even offensive routine. This Australian comic tackles the battleground of the stage in a far less confrontational style…

Ellie Taylor: Elliementary

10 Aug 20143 stars

Debut littered with comic gems that hops back and forth across the feminist line

Word of mouth has spread so quickly about Ellie Taylor’s debut Fringe show that the tiny venue is standing room only. This reviewer was lucky enough to get a seat literally at her feet, with an excellent view of her footwear and in the splash zone for…